Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Craving Protection

We come into this world completely helpless and dependant on others to care for us and protect us. We need someone to teach us to walk, talk and love. It’s absolutely vital that someone protect us from others and from ourselves while we are little. As we grow, we need for our caretaker to exercise the wisdom of “letting go” little by little until we are what we like to think of as self-sufficient.

Little do we know, we never quite grow out of this need to be cared for, protected and taught.  We just graduate from one school to the next. Our parents are like elementary teachers meant to prepare us for higher education. God will become our teacher of things that our parents could not teach and He has far more self-control than our parents, who want to coddle us when we really need to suffer the scrapes and bruises of the fall.
I find myself pondering the idea of protection a lot lately as have struggled with it more as I have aged. As I think back, I realize that I have often thought that I am unloved or unworthy of protection because I was not protected when I felt I should have been. My fleshly nature wants to resent those who failed to protect me in life. But then God tells me that even though it’s natural for me to want it, those who failed to protect me too much somehow did me a favor regardless of how they (or satan) meant for it to impact me.
We have a natural tendency to crave protection because it makes us feel loved and cherished. We feel great when we are loved and cherished but the problem is that we don’t grow if we don’t suffer some. And when we don’t suffer, it keeps us from needing God. But no one likes to suffer…it’s not part of our plan. It prevents us from this “happiness” we think we deserve.
We have this idea that people don’t love us or that we aren’t important when we are in the midst of pain from something we think could have been prevented – by someone else.  Many of us have even resented God at some time or another for allowing something to happen that we deemed “unfair”.  There are a lot of things in life that are horrible and cruel that I, myself wish I could have prevented for others but the truth of it all is that He isn’t sitting up there trying to make life horrible for us. Sometimes things happen to us with no rhyme or reason.
The glory in it all is that He can make it all work towards our benefit rather than against us. And when we survive without these things we thought we needed, we realize that the net of God's grace held us all along.
There is flawed thinking in the idea that true love must not allow one to hurt. The “coddle” mindset we’ve adapted lends to the narcissistic thinking of our society – “It’s all about me, myself and my pain.” We, as believers have got to learn the difference in when and how much protection is too much. Too little protection causes unnecessary hurt but too much handicapps a person. It takes quite a bit of discernment to know that fine line of too little – too much.

Here are some truths I have learned that help me combat the “Why didn’t they protect me” thoughts.
·        Read His word daily. Seek to understand His message.
·        Pray often…at least daily but you can never pray too much.
·        Apply His truths to your life actively. This stuff He teaches us isn’t just words that sound nice. It’s quite logical and practical.
·        Let go of your old thought system and be open to the one He teaches you. Use it to combat the lies in your head.
·        Remember that other people are as helpless as you are. They cannot fix you. They cannot fix themselves. Freeing them from that burden is a beautiful act of grace.
·        Believe that no matter what happens, God can make you better from it. Better, not by society’s definition, but better in character and in faith.
·         Keep going no matter how much you hurt and no matter how badly you feel.  But the one who endures to the end will be saved” Matthew 24:13

We are never really alone, like we think. God can hear our thoughts, feel our pains and I believe it hurts Him to see us hurt. He wants to see us grow way past the person we have in our minds that we ought to be but if we don’t learn how to rely on Him, be obedient to Him, and focus on Him we will never leave this spot.

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